James, forgive me if I'm wrong here, I'll just drift away if it doesn't help.
Something I got from Mike Maxwell's book made me attempt to keep my elbows close to my body...like hold them in tight. It helped me alot because it forced me to move my body instead of my arms while loading and delivering. Your left side single is very good, I think because your elbows are constrained by the off side.
I also cast with my right hand up. And, I also have better success with the left side single spey, it feels easy and works great. The right side is the free side and the elbow is too free. I think a free elbow allows us to muck up the rod's load. If you keep the elbows tight and lean back as you load and forth as you deliver, while your elbows are constrained as much as you can, it will help.
Klick, nice observation. I'm not sure I really want to keep my elbows tight, but the point is clear, I do need to keep them controlled and not allow them to get away from me. Tight would keep them controlled but I think it may put constraints on the long stroke needed for a long line. What do the experts say in regards to elbows tight with the long belly?
By the way, had a pretty nice day out casting today. Camera didn't cooperate...I have 2min of me fiddling with the camera placing in on a rock and then nothing!
What I did learn:
Rotational E.T or whatever we got sucked into in the last thread is a bunch of bunk. I found out today how critical it is to, minimize the roll in the casting stroke. Short lines and short rods can be very forgiving and rolling less of an issue, but when the issue is magnified by a long head and long rod, things have to be fundamentally sound to look pretty.
Anyway, had a pretty productive day practicing. I did violate my own adice to stick to full floaters, it's just the CND GPS cast tips so nicely, had to play around with it. Today I used a type 8 rio 109grn 15' tip and a cone head bunny, had some frustrations while trying to recover from bad casts as I failed miserably at trying to get the line reset down stream when there was any slack in the line. The type 8 tip made it even worse in that regard. But when everything was hanging tight on the dangle, it was pretty awesome.
Good work on studying and improving your casting skills with the longer "poker" and matching lines!
Regarding your comment about "bottom hand power into the backstroke", I recall Simon G's use of a definite "flick" (which can be efficiently powered by the bottom hand) toward the conclusion of the sweep to assist in producing the same result you seek. I don't see many casters doing it with shorter rods, however.
Your diligence here will doubtless clarify and refine your casting strategies with other rod/line combinations. I look forward to a posting containing a "unified theory" as you envision it, ar at a minimum a description of the pearls of wisdom you've been able to unearth.
When you eventually pick up a short stick and short head again (as circumstance will surely require), be sure to loosen the drag sufficiently so as not to cause the running line to part at the reel when the cast reaches the end of its flight...or as I sometimes do with a Hardy clicker, leave 'em loose so everyone within hearing knows you could have thrown it 20 feet further if you wanted to!
This is an excellent thread and I'm hoping to help keep it going. James has put it out there, he's trying to improve his long belly casting, even the masters want improvement...get the long line controlled and everything else is EASY!
The vid's show James on river right trying to perfect his right side single. I think James is on the wrong side of the river to use that cast, even while practicing. Think it messes with the cast...
Best thing to do, in my not so humble opinion, would be to move to river left and play with it, using a perry poke when the setup is off and going for it when the setup looks good.
Actually, I was just working on the basics with a Switch Cast, so river orientation is not critical. The switch cast is just an exercise to develop the basic lift, loop creation and fire, that all change of directions casts, like the single spey, are based upon. I do try to find places to practice both river right and left casts, when working on my single speys and snake rolls. I also take the opportunity, regardless of river direction to always spend sometime "Switch Casting" left and right handed to build muscle memory.
Here's a technique for practice that I've found helpful, and it relates to your most recent post about practicing the switch cast:
Locate a flat expanse of non-moving water (nearby lake, flooded field?) with lots of back and side room, and perfect your switch cast there from both sides, both hands up. If you're fortunate enough to practice on a calm day, you'll also have the benefit of removing nearly all the uncontrollable variables from your exercise (current velocity, current direction, current irregularities, stance and body position variability, etc.).
Another benefit of stillwater practice is that it promotes more precise positioning, tempo, and force, since the moving water is not present to help or hurt, and the path of the forward cast is a truer product of your mechanics, since no current is present to shift the anchor. When you return to the river, you'll be more aware of how the current direction and speed affect your casting techniques, and how they change the timing and anchor placement as well as distance achieved. You'll find yourself categorizing specific movements and positions into "must do", "never do", and "I didn't know that"...
It's no coincidence that many of the videos featuring champion distance casters performing are filmed on lakes.
Greg, I've been thinking about going to LaCamas lake for casting practice since the river closes for a month tomorrow, but those are some more good reasons to hit the lake. I did run down to the river again today for about two hours. Had an awesome day on the water casting. I took the 11/12 CND off and went back to the 10/11 Carron, world of difference. I was casting tighter loops and working less to accomplish the same distance. I figure the heavier CND was really good to help me get the feel of the load and develop my timing, which I believe it did.
Klick, worked on my elbows and controlling them, great tip thanks. I felt more power in my casts, and less effort, as I kept my elbows closer and lower. Big contributer to tighter loops as well.
Well, once again, I failed to get video. Not that I didn't try, dead battery this time! Maybe, someone else on the forum, from the Vancouver area, that likes to practice spey casting would like to meet somewhere and trade pointers and camera duties? PM if interested.
A "Switch Cast" is a very basic practice cast that helps the caster develop lift, loop formation, forward cast and tempo; sound casting fundamentals. There is no angle change so rotation and alignment are not a factor and casting doesn't have to incorporate a reset of the line after each cast, as the line just goes back to where it started from.
Also it's a great cast to work both sides of the body without having to change river orientation. Most casting videos, start with this cast or the simple roll cast. Works well on grass...and don't forget a great way to practice the Snake or spiral cast too.
So it seems we all agree...a switch cast is a roll cast, so why do we call it a switch cast?
Something to ponder while awaiting James' next casting session. Seems this thread may have become too dependant on James. Any others out there willing to "show or tell" how best to deal with the long line?
Switch and Roll are actually pretty different. Ian explained the Switch cast pretty well. The roll cast isn't as dynamic, the fly doesn't "Jump" into position but slides into postion on a slow tension build up and small D-loop. I will agree that the "Jump Roll" and "Switch" are synonymous. The name Switch perhaps because of the back and forth, like a swich back road or trail.